Barefoot babes

Shoes are good for kids, right?  Wrong!  Here’s why you should take their shoes off today!

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I remember when my first born started walking.  I was so worried about doing everything right… you know, as everyone does with their first child!  So we got him the best shoes we could find.  With arch support and padding of course.  We strapped them on, and our previously very mobile toddler, could barely walk a step without falling.  When he stopped falling, he looked like those puppies that have boots on.  What was going on?

We did not know then, what we know now.  Shoes have no benefit for small children, other than protecting them from injury.  For example, stepping on glass.

Shoes can actually weaken the muscles of your child’s foot, and damage their structure.

Children that do not wear shoes, have been shown to have better arches, and stronger feet.

Going barefoot, also allows your child to gather sensory data from their feet.  They would not be able to feel the grass, moisture from the soil, or temperature with shoes on.

They also are less able to develop their gross motor skills, because wearing shoes alters their natural balance.

What do we do now for shoes?

Our smallest kids wear Robeez as long as possible, when they aren’t able to be barefoot.  For my oldest, we just started buying Vivo Barefoot shoes and we are in love!  The shoes are very cool looking, which was a major concern for my oldest.  He reports they are his most comfortable shoes ever.  They have been good for playing sports, when shoes are necessary.  The shoes are also very minimal.  (In case you’re wondering, I have no sponsorship deal with either company mentioned in this post).

Do yourself and your little one a favour today, go outside without shoes!

 

Much of the information is from one of my all time favourite books, Balanced and Barefoot Angela J. Hanscom.

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Risky play boosts confidence and decision making ability

Let my three year old climb trees and rocks??  Without holding my hand?

It can be scary as a mother watching your 3 year old scramble up cliffsides, running along trails, climb trees or big rock formations.  However, I try to trust my children as much as possible, and encourage them to assess the challenge vs. their skill level.

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I will often ask them, “are you sure?” Or “is that branch/rock steady enough?”.  Sometimes I may even say, “what will happen if you step here?” To teach them to analyze the risks.

Allowing them the chance to scale new surfaces will improve their gross motor skills, also their confidence in themselves and their ability to reason whether something is or is not a good idea.

As moms, as much as we may wish to, we will not always be there to make decisions for our children.  We may be afraid to let them make decisions because of a perceived risk.  Instead of saying no, we should instead help our child learn to be safer while climbing.  We must prepare them to do think of these things independently.

Yes, this does extend much further than a discussion about tree climbing.

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I believe we must mother from a place of trust and not fear.  We need to provide children with opportunities to grow in their judgement in a relatively safe context, so they can practice making decisions independently.

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The decisions our children make will get much more complex as they get older.  So let’s start them on the way, by letting them decide what they will and won’t climb while out hiking.

Late Winter Challenge

This is the last day to complete our Winter challenge!

Post below that you have completed the whole challenge, what were the best and worst moments?  Leave your email address and I will send you a link to a short video of some highlights of our spring break.